tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN March 18, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
jobs that actually injured people which that in the long-term cost the company money. when there's an injury to an employee so when you have a robot there now doing that particular job, that's a good thing. so automation is great. i want it to excel. i want more computers, i want more robots because they're helping keep the jobs here in america. >> . >> it's 5:00 in the east, 2:00 in the west. president trump son the brink of perhaps the most consequential week of his presidency to date. this wire tapping claim, his supreme court nominee. his campaign promise to repeal and replace obamacare are all facing critical tests this week. in less than 48 hours the president's assertion that his phones at trump tower were bugged by his predecessor will be scrutinized by congress on live tv.
is far we have not seen a shred of evidence to support this claim. now fbi director james comey is expected to tell the house intelligence committee on monday whether any evidence exists. trump's supreme court nominee kneel gorsuch will begin his senate confirmation hearing on my and on thursday, the republican health care plan is set for a vote on the house floor. the president predicts it's going to pass on the first try. >> i want everybody to note that all of these nos or potential nos are all yes's. every single person in this room. >> he's working the art of the deal. right now president trump is at his mar-a-lago resort in florida. let's go to white house correspondent athena jones in nearby west palm beach. he has dinner plans tonight, right? >> hi, ana, he's planning to dine with isaac, ike perlmutter, the billionaire ceo of marvel
entertainment. so that's to be his guest tonight. i can tell you the president spent several hours at trump international golf club in west palm beach. white house officials said he was working, meeting with staff. they wouldn't say whether he was playing golf, but cnn did capture video of him driving a golf cart on the links and a friend of his tweeted out a photo of him wearing a golf glove. it seems he got in a few holes. he had the daily intelligence briefing. last hour at the mar-a-lago resort. this hour he's set to have a phone call with brazil's president. but much of the mow cuss has been on his explosive and unsubstantiated allegations made two weeks ago today against his predecessor, president obama, who he accused of having his quote wires tapped in trump tower. it's a charge the former president has denied. it's a charge that several former intelligence officials say simply isn't true. people in the house and senate,
democrats and republicans looking into this matter have all said that they've seen no evidence to support the president's claim. but he has continued to restate it. in fact white house press secretary made another allegation, adding on to the original one a couple of days ago saying that british intelligence was responsible for helping to tap the phones and the communications in trump tower. that's an allegation that british intelligence has denied. the latest new denial we have is coming from the number two official at the national security agency, richard leggit. who gave an interview to the bbc and said that the claim is errant nonsense. echoing what the british intelligence agency said. he said claims that the uk was involved with wiretapping demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of how the relationship works. he said of course they wouldn't do it. it would be epically stupid. and of course he's talking about the close relationship between the u.s. and the uk and also the
intelligence-sharing relationship between the u.s., the uk and several other commonwealth countries so heave you have a white house that's created an international incident over false claims this is not the first time the president has made false claims. the question is will we see a retraction, any sort of apology. whether to president obama or to the british from this white house and will fbi director comey's testimony on monday push them to make some sort of response. that's what we're waiting to see. >> athena jones reporting. thank you. i want to talk more about the house intelligence committee hearing and president trump's wiretapping claim. let's bring in our panel. alex stewart, a republican strategist and kurt bardlea, a analyst for darrell issa. i want to hear what my colleague michael smerkonish brought up today. >> fees watching right now at mar-a-lago, he could pick up the phone at this minute and call the c.i.a., the nsa and ask the
question, was trump tower surveilled and he would get an answer, right? >> michael all he needed to do two weeks ago was to roll over, punch that button on the red switch and say get these guys down here for lunch and he would have been satisfied and we would have been done with this. >> now as the former nsa director michael hayden, so alice, why didn't president trump end this wiretap controversy, instead of citing news reports to try to back up his claims? all he had to do was make a phone call, why didn't he do it in. >> i don't think the question is why didn't he end it. the question is why did he start it in the first place? to michael hayden's point, before he even tweeted this out first thing two weeks ago he should have come out with the information that he has. but look, here we are two weeks later, we're still talking about this. and we have house and senate republicans and democrats, we have foreign officials, all saying that they have no evidence to back this up. we have foreign officials saying this is rubbish and ridiculous. many people are saying he, senator john mccain saying he
needs to retract and issue an apology. i personally think that, if he has this information he should have come forward with it. but the fact remains that the president and his administration and his officials and his spokespeople are digging in and they are not budging and they still stand by their assertion, which is not many others, their assertion that news reports indicate that this happened. they are standing by those news reports and they are standing firm. but the reality is, all he has to do is make one call to do it. the people that know and put an end to this. it looks as though we may get that on monday when we hear from comey. why are they standing firm? we aren't they retracting, why aren't they issuing an apology if there is no proof, no evidence? >> because they live in an alternate reality. at the end of the day, no matter what facts come to light, what truths there, this is an administration by a president who do not believe ever that they should retreat, back down, tell the truth. the president is aliar.
he gets his information from sources, that lie. and they're never going to back down from that and they actually think it is a better fight author them to have this argument right now, and expand it over weeks, because they think that their base wants to hear this. at the time the whole thing started it was jeff sessions getting the headlines, creating controversy. and with one tweet, 5:00 a.m. on a saturday, trump changed that narrative completely. and they think it's revenge. the reality is they have an audience that no matter what is said will always stay with them and will believe anything that they have to say no matter how ridiculous, how untruthful. will never walk away, abandon trump. they care more about playing to that audience or anything else going on. >> it's so interesting to hear you both speak so critically of the president, when are you both republicans, members of his party what could he do to right the ship? >> it's a little harsh in this situation in my opinion to refer
to him as a liar. he truly believes what he is saying. he truly believes that his tweet stands on its own and has merit and sean spicer truly believes that there are news reports that indicate this. why he's doing this, still remains to be seen. if he will ever retract that remains to be seen. i firmly doubt that he will do so. if you go back to his rally he had in nashville this week. those people love him. they could care less about this. we're talking about this ad nauseam here in washington and up in new york and the media is all consumed with this. there are concerns about how the national, the international community is viewing this. but his base, his people, the republican base, they could care less. they're concerned with what happened monday. they want neil gorsuch confirmed. on thursday they want a good health care bill passed to go onto the senate. those are the things they're concerned with. donald trump knows that and that's who he is answering to right now. >> kurt what will you be listening for on monday?
>> well again if there's any actual semblance of proof that backs up anything that the white house and the president have asserted. at the end of the day, there's not always two sides to every story. sometimes there is just fact and just truth. and this is one of those times. to have the president who as you noted earlier could have put this thing to bed the minute that he said it by providing the evidence, providing the facts, getting information from within his own administration and the federal government, which he is a commander-in-chief of, this thing should be over by now. the fact that they're drawing it out, they've sent the entire government on a circus witchhunt to try to find evidence to back up this ridiculous assertion, there is no evidence. that's what you're going to hear on monday and it's incumbent upon the president to come out and admit when he is wrong. >> how do you prove a negative? i mean we find ourself asking that question so often. let's talk about health care. because again a huge week and on thursday we could see a vote on the house floor. listen to what the president said just yesterday about bringing some of the no-ers if
that's even a word, i think i just made it up, on board. >> we just have a, a really wonderful group of people meeting later. we met with 12, pretty much no's in congress. you saw that a little while ago and they went from all no's to all yes's. and we have a lot of yes's coming in it's all come together. >> so he was referencing his meetings with the republican study committee. a group of conservatives but the crucial group we're hearing is the freedom caucus. alice, is he doing enough to bring over some of those conservatives on the freedom caucus in order to pass this? >> this is the real work that's going on this week and the last several weeks in washington that people are concerned with. a lot of those as you call them no-ers are becoming yes-ers i guess we could call them. he has been meeting behind the scenes with freedom caucus member who is have grave concerns about the paul ryan bill that's been put out there on the table. they're concerned about the cost of it.
they're concerned certainly about the people that will be thrown off of health care. and they want to see the medicaid expansion end sooner rather than later. the good thing is we have mike pence in there rolling up his sleeves, working on the sausage making of making a bill that will work and donald trump as well. now for a fact, my former boss, ted cruz has had many meetings and conversations with the president and mark meadows with the freedom caucus, they're doing the hard work that people sent them to washington for to get a bill that will pass the muster. not just in the house, but also in the senate. they campaigned the last four elections on repealing and replacing obamacare and that is exactly what they're working really hard to get done. >> i'm wondering about the political calculus in all of this, who stands to lose the most politically if this legislation doesn't pass? >> i think speaker ryan has been set up as the fall guy. the fact that the president doesn't want this to be called trump care, he wants this to be called ryan care. the entire process, if they don't end up having votes or
something crazy happens on the floor. they end up pulling the bill. this falls on the lap of the speaker, that's the way that the trump white house wanted it. there's a reason why they don't want their name branded on it. someone who is obsessed with putting his name on things wants nothing to do with this in vocabulary. that tells you a lot. at the end of the day, the speaker do have the most to lose, because if this doesn't work, it's his majority that's being jeopardized right now. he's asking these members to do the same thing that nancy pelosi asked democrats to do back when they ran through obamacare. and it cost them ultimately the majority. a lot of these members have to weigh the calculus is doing this, this bill that right now is excessively expensive. doesn't guarantee care for millions of americans, is it really worth falling on your sword, potentially losing your career and your job to pass something you don't have 100% confidence in? >> thank you for coming on. good to see you. >> coming up, fbi director james comey set to update congress on the investigation into russia's
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talk to your doctor about managing your symptoms proactively with linzess. on monday, we expect to learn whether the fbi is actively investigating the trump campaign and ties to russia, as well as more on russia's involvement in the u.s. election. fbi director james comey will testify. this will be public. the is intelligence community has issued a report concluding that indeed russian president vladimir putin ordered a covert campaign to undermine faith in the u.s. election and to help donald trump get elected. the committee wants to know if the fbi is probing a connection between trump and russian officials. cnn senior international correspondent nick paton walsh has more. >> the they won't even be
watching, kremlin spokesperson saying we don't expect new details and we're busy doing other things and a colorful quote saying this series of allegations repeated again and again that russia meddled in the 2016 electoral campaign is like a broken record. they want to give the impression they don't see anything corresponding to their present-day reality in those allegations. i'm sure there will be people in the kremlin watching the hearings for any detail delivered by james comey or other officials, and we'll see if they choose to react to it directly. look at the broader picture here. if you believe the idea that the kremlin was trying to interfere in the electoral process to perhaps assist donald trump, as many u.s. officials have alleged they may not necessarily have got the outcome they wanted. if you think they were looking to get someone in the white house whose opinions may be closer aligned to those of vladimir putin, remember donald trump conspicuous in his absence of the criticism of the kremlin
strong man in the campaign. have a beltway torn up with intense scrutiny of russia's links to the trump administration that means any attempt to come up with a policy that may suit russia's interests by the white house will be met with intense domestic criticism and scrutiny and the repeating of the accusations of collusion with moscow. if you believe that russia simply wants to sow dissent in washington, d.c. that objective has occurred. in the long run perhaps some of the spotlight may help agrandize their ability to be seen and in the longer run they may not actually see a friendlier approach from the united states towards russia. >> nick paton walsh, thank you. coming up, a white house suggestion that the uk spied on president trump during the election is creating a growing rift with america's closest allies and partners in the intelligence community. could it impact critical intelligence sharing? that story is up next.
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ana cabrera, the uk is fighting back on claims that the british intelligence agency surveilled trump tower under the orders of president obama. the agency saying these claims are ridiculous nonsense. president trump has yet to offer an apology or offer evidence to back up the charge. cnn's brian todd reports how the incident is possibly unnerving the partnership of spies between america and its closest ally. >> accusation that is still bringing outrage from across the
atlantic. the white house press secretary reciting a claim from a fox news analyst that former president obama got british intelligence to spy on president trump. >> he didn't use the nsa, or the c.i.a., he didn't use the fbi and he didn't use the department of justice, he used gchq. >> britain's equivalent of the nsa, a super secret eavesdropping agency with some of the world's best technology. according to the fox analyst quoted by sean spicer, using the gchq to spy on president trump would have given president obama plausible deniability. >> the british are furious, calling the comments ridiculous. the head intelligence overseer in britain's parliament saying longstanding agreements between the five eyes countries means they cannot ask each other to target each other's citizens what are the five eyes countries. >> five eyes is one organization they share everything, they collect help each other collect information. >> five eyes, the intelligence agencies of english speaking allies, the u.s., britain, canada, australia and new
zealand. experts say after working so well together to defeat germany and japan in world war ii, those nations formally established five eyes right after the war to spy on the soviet union. experts say they meet at least once a year. and from human intelligence, to wire tapping. to hacking. it's the most effective intelligence-sharing alliance in the world. >> basically, gchq and the nsa are closer than the nsa and c.i.a. what they've done is they've divided the world up into spheres of interest. so that britain for example can collect against europe or russia a lot better than the united states can. so this is their area of focus. the u.s. can eavesdrop on south america or, to some degree a lot of the pacific area. >> the brother ties between british and american intelligence agencies often immortalized on the big screen. >> you must be james bond. >> when james bond met up with his c.i.a. counterpart felix. >> that's what i like about u.s.
intelligence. >> now intelligence analysts fear the fallout from the white house citing unproven accusation. >> what the uks had that we don't is listening sites. closer to the middle east. they have a listening site in cypress, which sis absolutely crucial to our collection. if they close that down it will risk american lives. >> other experts say that may not happen because then the british wouldn't get access to u.s. intelligence which they depend on for as much as the americans. what may happen analysts say, british and five eyes partners may get increasingly nervous about sharing some intelligence with the trump administration. not knowing if it would be talked about in the opener, how it would be used. and as a result some intelligence may be held back from the americans. brian todd, cnn. >> coming up live here in the cnn news room. if you want an answer to any question about constitutional law, you turn to the man.
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long-envisioned muslim ban. president trump spoke at a rally the night that ban was blocked and mentioned one specific lawyer. >> even liberal democratic lawyer allen dershowitz, good lawyer, just said that we would win this case before the supreme court of the united states. >> remember this -- i wasn't thrilled. but the lawyers all said let's taylor it. this is a watered-down version of the first one. >> that good lawyer joins me now. allen dershowitz has been called one of the most distinguished defenders of individual rights, currently a professor at harvard law school. professor, good to have you with us, how do you feel about president trump name-dropping? >> well he's right. i do think that the supreme court will uphold this ban. there is nothing wrong with picking six countries, they were the same six countries picked by barack obama for a related
reason. certainly any list would have to include iran, the greatest purr vafr of terrorism in the world. iran has the blood of many americans on its hands, to have eliminated iran from the list would be absurd. to eliminate the somalia to eliminate yemen. these are all countries that have terrorist organizations within them and no vetting process. for stopping people from coming to this country. so the list -- >> the first ban, the fact that he named these specific countries but there was no proof that those people in those countries specifically had committed terrorist acts here in america? >> no, the president doesn't have to prove that. and the first ban i think would have been upheld. but for the thakt it hfact it h religious exclusion, lower courts, had stayed the ban, is instead of constitutional analysis, they applied psychoanalysis, they're looking
into the heart and soul of the president. and they're basically saying this guy doesn't like muslims, now obama, he looked muslims. and so if he had issued the very same order, it would be unconstitutional. but trump issues the very same order, it's unconstitutional. that's just not the way our law operates, the law is the law. you look to the word of the regulation. there are some exceptions in the legislative history. but i've never heard of a case where campaign rhetoric, by a candidate, is deemed to be dispositive of the purpose of the law and the law is struck down as unconstitutional. not because of what the law says, but because of what the president thinks. >> these judges are in their positions to uphold the law as you point out. and we have two separate judges and two separate courts who have said that they believe that this part of the law, that bans people from these six
muslim-majority countries from coming into the u.s. is unconstitutional, does it surprise you that there are two judges who have that ruling? >> no. it's two out of hundreds. probably the vast majority of judges today would uphold the law and i think the supreme court will and i also think the fourth circuit very well might. the justice department was smart. they appealed, the maryland decision, not the california decision in order to try to get the case to the fourth circuit before it gets to the ninth circuit. if the fourth circuit upholds the ban and there's a 4-4 split in the supreme court, then the lower court decision is affirmed, so it's good lawyering to bring the case from the maryland court rather than the california court but ultimately if it gets to supreme court. i don't think it's going to be 4-4. i think it will be a fairly lopsided majority, in favor of upholding at least the major provisions of the law.
there's a long history of limiting people who come from particular countries, that are deemed dangerous. i just don't think you can find this to be a muslim ban. if it were a muslim ban it would apply to indonesia. it is a ban that is designed to prevent islamic extremists terrorists. and of course they're going to come from muslim countries, that's where islamic extremism comes from. it reminds me of the bank robber willie sutton. they asked him why do you rob banks? that's where the money is. why do you pick these countries, that's where islamic radical terrorism comes from and where there's no vetting process. it's a perfectly rational decision and i think it will be upheld by the supreme court. >> i hear you say it's the vetting piece that could be critical here, too. so when you talk about the supreme court, that moves me along to what we're also watching this week. with nominee judge neil gorsuch set to begin herings on monday.
does the likelihood that the travel ban makes it to the supreme court raise the stakes of his confirmation? sure, they're going to ask him about it obviously the democrats may try to delay his nomination, it's inevitable he'll be confirmed, he's distinguished and has an excellent record. he'll be confirmed. the question is not whether, but when. and if they can delay it long enough, so that the case comes to the supreme court, when there's only eight justices, at least some democrats will probably favor that. i don't think it's going to happen. i think the nomination will go through, think he'll probably sit on the case, he's going to be asked about it he'll probably say look i can't comment on a pending case, i may have to decide this case. i don't want have to recuse myself. let me ask you about the wiretapping claims from president trump that president obama wiretapped trump tower. he has not backed down. in fact he's only doubled down, despite there being zero evidence, zero proof of those claims. could president obama have
grounds for a libel case? >> sure in theory he would. no president is ever going to bring a libel case. president obama does not want to be deposed for day after day. by filing the suit he would waive all kinds of privileges. so i will guarantee you with one 1,000% certainty that president obama will not bring a defamation suit. though he would certainly have the right to do so he would have to prove that president trump said something that was defamatory and false, but kind of knowingly and recklessly false. it's fun to speculate b. but it's not going to happen. >> if you were advising mr. trump, president trump on this his reaction or response moving forward what would you tell him to do? interesting thing i would say, isn't it ironic that all the liberals are saying you can trust the national security agency, when they tell us there's no wiretapping? years ago it was the liberals who were saying you can't trust
those guys, of course they're wiretapping everybody. it just shows partisan politics has become so extreme that liberals give up their liberal perspective, conservatives give up their conservative perspectives, everybody wants to choose a side and whatever side you choose, you're going to say whatever helps your side. it's a tragedy and how dialogue has suffered in this country. >> i think we might have lost you at the end but i think you got most of your statement. the fact is the bottom line, the facts matter, it doesn't matter which side of the aisle you're on, it's about following the facts and sticking to the truth and finding the truth. that's what the hearing we hope on monday gets to, alan der sh witnesses, thank you so much for joining us. >> president trump's budget plan calls for deep cuts to the state department and the epa, next. our chief business correspondent christine romans breaks down what's on the chopping block.
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could you design president trump's border wall. customs and border protection has posted a notice for contractors. the requirements? the wall must be tall, and impossible to climb and difficult to penetrate. all while blending into the landscape. the notice brings what's been a sore issue for some hispanics back into the spotlight. the white house is trying to reach out. the u.s. hispanic chamber of commerce was invited to pennsylvania avenue for meetings on thursday. the topics ranging from
immigration to health care to trade. and we have a member of the u.s. hispanic chamber of commerce and was at those meetings, you're a former obama administration official. amar, it's my understanding that the president wasn't at these meetings. but you have met with mr. trump before i believe. we have a picture of that. who all did you meet with on thursday? >> at the request of the white house, javier palom rampb is the president of the u.s. hispanic chamber of commerce invited about 20 hispanic business owners for multiple meetings. one with reince priebus and one with ivanka trump. i believe the meetings were constructive. i didn't go in there as a democrat or a former white house official, i went there as an american who was concerned and we had a robust conversation and i think it was heartening to many of our members to see that ivanka trump and reince priebus, two people who have the president's ear, were listening to us. and i hope that our conversations will go to inform the president and his agenda.
by the way he has his 100 days are coming up. and i know that he has to have a lot of wins, he wants to have a lot of wins soon. soy think building a broader coalition is a smart strategy because it's going to be an uphill battle on a issues like health care and immigration and now the travel ban. >> you talk bur optimism after those meetings. on what specific issues did you feel there may have been some progress made? >> we talked about a whole range of issues on deregulation, on tax reform. on health care reform. on immigration reform. and every single american in this country believes that we need a better government. that is in touch with the 21st century needs of our business owners, of americans, we all agree that we need reforms. the point of contention is that on the details, on the solutions, but i think convening dialogues like those, like the ones we had on thursday is a way we could pave a path towards a unified future we did talk about some points of contention, that's what america is all about. you know what, we were at the table. and if you're not at the table,
you're on the menu. i'm glad to see that we had a voice this time. >> that's interesting to put it in that perspective. now democratic lawmakers also had a meeting with the homeland security secretary john kelly yesterday. their report coming out of that meeting was that kelly at times was dismissive of their questions that they were left with even more questions than answers. does that concern you? >> of course that concerns me, but i think the american people really want to see us want to explore opportunities to unite and not divide. there are a number offal politicians in the town who are caring more about the political live livelihoods than that of the american people. even though it is a failed slogan, i believe that that he we are stronger together at the end of the day, and we should operate on that. and what i saw in thet meeting thursday is that all of us were working as americans on the very contentious issues going on for decades, and we are trying to get our arms around it. >> for the voice of those who are fearful right now about
being deported, because their families have members who are in the u.s. and are undocumented immigrants, did you feel like the issues concerning them were discussed and heard? >> well, you know, i think that the first conversationer serves as a benchmark for future conversations, and the future administration is hearing. and when we hear that daca is being preserved that is good. so we have heard that it is preserved for the time being. i'm a hispanic, and arab american and my dad was a muslim immigrant who came to the country after his parents were killed at age 11, so i am tha thankful that that we are a welcoming nation, and i am my father here and i am here today talking to you, because of that, but we have struggles. the defining issue of our time is really balancing the civil rights concern on one hand and the national security interests
on the other of the i scales of justice and we have to have a mindful discussion about that, and we can't have a partisan view on these issues. >> given your background, what do you feel about the travel ban that the president has proposed? >> i am concerned about a myriad of issues surrounding it, and like i said, my father came here to this country fleeing a muslim country and seek refuge and thank god, this country accepted him, but i went to an islamic school in san diego that was a mosque and three men who were given the same visas of my father and they were three of the 19 hijackers who killed 3,000 innocent civilians and r buried my american dream beneath the rubble of two towers and made it impossible to be an arab or muslim in the country, and the truth is that there are three countries on the ban that are failed states and run over by terrorists. one that is a state sponsor of
terrorist, and two that are safe havens of the terrorists. i am not in favor of calling it a muslim banks because they could come here to this country freely, but when james clapper says that we have concerns about the vetting process, and when you have a lot of the concerns coming from those countries, and i know that people say that those six countries and no terrorists have come to this country on american soil and enacted any terror and this is true before 9/11 before those hija hijackers came here to kill 3,000, and that is not a good predictor. what is a good predeck or the is the people like baghdadi saying that he wants to do what those terrori terrorists did. and the first predictor is those people fleeing the country, because we don't want bad actor, because that is what they are fleeinging in first place. and every muslim should be concerned about the terror iismn this country, bau it was a terrible time in our country. >> thank you so much for sharing
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normal at orly. and now i want to introduce you the first hero of c nshgs nshn for 2018. she lost her son to leukemia, but she translated her heartbreak to technology. she decided to keep kids battling life threatening illnesses to their everyday lives. >> it is difficult for the kids to spend a lot of time in the hospital, and they get so disconnected from the family and friends and schools. when we bring them this technology, they can dial in and be right in the classroom. >> hello, philip. >> hello, philip. >> that is awesome. >> and you can see their face light right up, and it brings them such joy. >> that is so great to see. to see the phil bot in action and this is the name of the robot, and you can see leslie's full story going to cnn heroes.com, and if you know somebody who deserves to be recognized a cnn hero, nominate them. that is cnnheros.com. thank you for joining us.
i'll be back here at 7:00 p.m. eastern. director of the fbi james comey is set to testify monday and we will have our guests to look at that. smerconish is next. ♪ i am michael smerconish coming to you from philadelphia where we welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. president trump and the white house still promoting an unsubstantiating wiretapping accusation even at an angel la merkelle press conference. what would happen if the known fact facts were litigated in court. in other words, does president obama have a case for libel? and where is president trump's ongoing battle with the intelligence community